The dancer and the poet

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Odd to be both
full and empty

inspired and void.
Which will it be today?

Will it rain?
Or will it be a drought?

The poet in me envies
the dancer in me unless

the two are doing the tango
in which case, yes, we’ve got a poem.

But if not, if the
pieces are distanced

for some reason,
forget it.

The best poems is when
the dancer and the poet

are in conflict,
when there’s tension,

when they both want
the same thing.

I’ve learnt not to wait
for either

because if one wants to
write

one
writes

no
help for

it.
So no

don’t wait for inspiration
storms

the delivery man -
the fountain is you

and we love you.
You are our medicine.

The cost of being a bird

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Walking from one end
of a London mall

to the other
is like a running

through the
Hunger Games forest.

Stopping to get a snack
at a lovely supermarket

is
only

natural
because

we are
silly humans

and we get attracted by big,
primary colours.

Holding up
a piece of plastic

the size of a
typical computer mouse

that holds
a Barbie-portion tahini

and marble-sized falafel,
all for four pounds (double that for dollars,

A
me

ri
ca).

Get a pain au chocolat,
get charged twenty six pounds and seventy five pence.

Remark, grinning nervously,
that inflation can’t be that bad,

can it? The teller made a mistake.
Step outside,

uncold to the harsh beauty of a city.
Wonder why it is that London

is like trying to convert religions sometimes,
but not being allowed into the shtetl.

But you don’t take it personally you see.
You remember that episode

of Family Guy
when Brian and Stewie

go to New York City
and a big flying green roaring dragon descends

from the sky and grabs them both with its claws,
carrying them into the sky.

We have strange relationships
with strangers and strange cities.

We can spend our days ignoring them,
walking past them and not catching their eye,

momentarily enticed by a magnificent badonkadonk
or even best a face to end all faces.

You are moving too fast for me
so I start to move faster and we

aren’t even talking we are just
racing each other to the till.

Because no one likes to queue.
Even though we’ve been trained.

But we love this city, somehow.
We are citizens of the world

and this city as much
belongs to you

as it does to me.
So we sit on stoops,

steps, and look up at buildings,
and the sky is in our hair,

and we (perhaps) wonder:
When did we get so close to the sky?

Grace you carry quick to undress you as though your soul was a fabric and your nakedness depends on such composures

I was reading again this past
weekend. An eccentricity
of mine. I am finally in act 3
of The Luminaries, and I am
love. Her writing reminds me
a little of Charles Dickens
and Penelope Fitzgerald
the way Catton intuits, suggests,
evokes. It rarely happens that I
will not feel the need to write
because the act of reading is
so fulfilling. I am sure this is true
for you too, you who love
literature so much. The way
Catton has mastered the language
when sometimes most of us
don’t even have the words
to her they seem to come so
naturally, as if they are falling
and she is catching the right
one at the right moment. The
way she marshals words
is unique and close to
miraculous. But it is not
just the writing. It is what
she seems to be saying.
Great light shines above us
and eventually reaches us
and it reaches us
at the speed of light
(eventually). It is far but it
is there. Can God, the angels,
- whoever is up there -
sitting at our desks, typing
away, trying to change our lives,
the way the characters of The
Luminaries are trying to uncover
gold. When I am done with it
I promise a traditional review –
well, ‘traditional’
because with love
comes renewal
and this also includes
forms like literary essays
and poetry.
Make it
your own.

To do

People do this
they run
People do this
they take chances
People do this
they try to make their lives better

People do this
they have precedents
People do this
they’ve been watching others
People do this
they will not give up

People do this
because they have to
Not because they want to
Pleasure need
not

attend one’s every
act

People do this
because they are driven
People do this
because they want more
People do this
because routine and rut won’t do

People do this because they have to
Not because they want to
But even so

No matter what

We can keep trying
We keep on trying
People do this
They want a better life
They want to feel at peace

Not
anxious
Not
depressed

But delirious
Heroic

And you do

 

 

 

 

The presence or absence of a viewer is integral to the existential (although not necessarily aesthetic) long standing of a work of art

image

An object.
A being.

A subject.
Something that’s seeing.

Canvas and
oil brushtroke,
tampered lights
and a beautiful
model turns
to face an artist,
while in a studio
on the other
side of the world
a model
puts on a robe
and leaves the artist,
who is still painting.

Age old.
Ancient.

Timeless.
Ageless.

The lights
dance in the
painting
although
they’ve been
painted.
Although
they’ve been
painted,
the lights
dance
in the
painting.

Contrast.
Shadow.

Degrees of yellow, of grey.
Accent and harmony.

What
are we
seeing?
Does it
question
seeing?
Alter
it?
Enhance
it?

Sat down
to get
my portrait
painted.
A few years
later
I died.
The painting
I sat for
sold at an
auction
for three
million
while the artist
and I died
penniless.

Representation.
Art modifies life.

Life imitates art
if love

if love runs through
it.